Testing Time -Challenge 6 -March 2011

I’ve been reading a few posts lately about testing time occurring in May in many countries. Here in Australia, we have our NAPLAN testing in literacy and numeracy for all students in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Many students have been learning how to write in a persuasive style as this is what the piece of written work will assess.

So this week’s challenges will relate to persuasive writing or something to do with testing.

I  asked last week for some more ideas for challenges, so I will also be using them.

Students and classes

Activity 1 – It’s a testing time

Write a post using a persuasive style of writing. You might like to use glogster to create a poster. Maybe wallwisher to get ideas from other students before you write your post.

Topics might include:

  • That mobile phones should be used in classrooms
  • That all students should have a personal blog from Grade 6 onwards
  • That all classes should have a class blog
  • That national or statewide testing has no valuable purpose for the student
  • A topic of your own choice

Activity 2 – Review time

Janis wrote a post about how April is review month ready for the big exams in May. Check out her suggestion for a post. This might be good for those students who have taken part in more than one of the student challenges last year and this year.

Activity 3 – Learning time

Think about something important you have learned outside of school – remember we should all be life long learners not just learners while at school. How did you learn it? Why is it important to you? Who or what taught you about it? How has this learning helped you in your life?

Activity 4 – Widget choice

Since you have been visiting lots of different student blogs, you will have noticed many widgets on sidebars of student blogs. Write a post about the widgets you have added to your blog and why you chose them.

Remember some widgets are for students 13+. Also if adding a music widget, try to have it on silent when your blog opens, or your visitors might be blasted with loud noises when they visit your blog.

Activity 5 – My regular visitors

Have you noticed in your comments, there are certain people visiting often? Or maybe, you have only had one or two visitors. How can you increase the number of visitors to your blog? How can you make sure they leave a comment and start conversations about your posts? Perhaps you could interview one of your regular commenters like Mikayla did in my class.

Activity 6 – Wordle your blog

Have you created a wordle from your blog? Check out the one Abbey created for one of our previous activities. If you have problems embedding your wordle, ask Abbey some questions or try to get rid of some of the extra spaces in the embed code. Remember if you do a printscreen and save as an image, you still need to give attribution to the wordle website.

Activity 7 – Internet safety

The students at our school recently had a drama performance by Bamboo Theatre company from Sydney who were touring around Tasmanian schools. Both students and staff found much interesting information about being safe on the web. Part of it was facebook and your settings. Have you had lessons on being internet safe? Do you use a certain program at school that teaches these things? Write a post about how you learn about internet safety.

Privacy on Facebook – these links might be more useful for the older students taking part in the challenge. How many of you have used default settings when joining Facebook?

Look at this post to see how much can be seen with default settings and how it has changed over the last five years. Here is a newspaper article showing the 170 different privacy settings you could be changing. Here is a tool that can scan your facebook settings and give you hints about where to make some changes. The links to these posts are from a post written by Jenny Luca. An interesting infographic about Facebook. Some statistics from the Facebook press room.

Now that you have checked out these posts, have you made any changes to your Facebook settings? Write a post about your use of Facebook and how it might be affecting your digital footprint on the web. Check out this post by Derek who I found last year by using the count out three game.

The game is on …. The game is on ….

The game is called count out three. Those students who have taken part in a student blogging challenge before will have already played this game. But we have many different students taking part in the challenge this year, so you should be visiting different blogs for the game in 2011.

Here are the instructions:

  • click on a blog on the student list – count one
  • now click on a blog from their blogroll – count two
  • finally click on a blog from that blogroll – count three

Leave a comment on an interesting post at this blog.

Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and what posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post? Remember to include a link back to the post you left a comment on so that student gets a pingback or trackback.

Attribution:

Original image: ‘Family Computer

Family Computer

by: Alex Watson

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License

Challenge 7 – Sept 2010

Facebook for Dummies, anyone?photo © 2008 David Fulmer | more info(via: Wylio)
In the last couple of challenges, you have had to leave comments on other student and class blogs.

When you get to a blog, how do you find a great post to read that is of interest to you? You could:

  • read all the posts on the visible page
  • read every post on the blog
  • check out where other people have left comments by using the comment widget
  • use the search widget if it is on the sidebar
  • use the category widget
  • use the tags widget

The last three choices will get you straight to a post relating to the topic you want. So our activities this week relate to organizing your blog to make it easier for your readers to find interesting posts they might like to comment on. We are going to visit a couple of other teacher blogs who have already written about categories and tags.

1. Visit Teacher Mom who runs a homeschool blogging course and read her post about categories. Follow her instructions about creating categories for your blog posts. If using blogpost, visit Allanah King’s post on labels.

2. Some classes have a category widget on the sidebar, but they have changed the heading for it. What is the heading I have used here at the challenge blog? Check out these blogs and decide if you are going to change your heading or are you going to leave it as categories? All things QuebecKids in the Mid, Grace.  Notice some categories are drop down menus, others are rotating names (need a pro blog for this.)

3. If you are reading a non-fiction book, you have chapters on different topics – eg a book about frogs might have chapters on where they live, their habitat, food they eat, lifecycle.  These are like categories. But you also have an index at the back of the book with words like: frog, tadpole, pond, lilies, swamp, croak  These are what computer users call ‘tags.

The more often you use the word as a tag, the larger it will look in your tag widget. When you use a search engine like Google, they look for keywords and tags that are found on website pages and in blogs. When you use Flickrcc to find an image, they are also looking at tags the photographers have added to their photos. Sue Waters from ‘The Edublogger’ has written a great post about the differences between categories and tags (2 years old though still applicable today)

4. When writing posts, begin adding categories and/or tags. You should only have a few categories – it is like the chapter heading of a book. Go back to your previous posts and change the category. Check TeacherMom’s post about adding categories to previous posts. If writing a post for the challenge, perhaps a category ‘challenge 10′ would be useful.

The next few challenges relate to posts you might want to write about:

5. What is included in having a positive digital footprint? When should you start using your proper name and photo of yourself rather than an avatar? Who is responsible for showing you how to be internet savvy? What information do you include on profiles when you register at a website?  Write a post about your own digital footprint.  Give examples of where you can be found on the web. Note the links go to posts written by my students from last year. You might want to create a comic strip about your digital footprint. Check the links on the internet savvy posts to find some comic making websites. Danni created a comic on being internet savvy.

6. Mrs Smith at the Huzzah blog is making sure her students grab your attention from the very first sentence you read on their posts. Check these out and then create some really interesting sentence beginnings for your blog. Make sure you link back to Mrs Smith’s blog to show where you got the idea for your post.

7. Mrs Braidwood at the Ripple Effect found an interesting social media counter. Make sure you change the counters at the top for social, games etc as well as the amount of time.  What did you find fascinating about this counter? Has it made you think about your use of the world wide web? You might want to write a post about this counter. Make sure you include a link back to Mrs Braidwood’s blog to show where you found the idea for your post.

8. Privacy on Facebook – these links might be more useful for the older students taking part in the challenge. How many of you have used default settings when joining Facebook?

Look at this post to see how much can be seen with default settings and how it has changed over the last five years. Here is a newspaper article showing the 170 different privacy settings you could be changing. Here is a tool that can scan your facebook settings and give you hints about where to make some changes. The links to these posts are from a post written by Jenny Luca. An interesting infographic about Facebook. Some statistics from the Facebook press room.

Now that you have checked out these posts, have you made any changes to your Facebook settings? Write a post about your use of Facebook and how it might be affecting your digital footprint on the web. Check out this post by Derek who I just found by using the count out three game.

Being internet savvy

Having visited all class and student blogs to check out the ‘About’ pages, some of the helpers and myself are a bit worried about how much information some of you are putting on your blogs.

Remember you do not give out lots of personal information.

We saw birthdays, full names, sports teams you play in and names of your schools.  It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to privacy.  You could be having hundreds of  people visit your blog over the next ten weeks.  The majority will be teachers and students taking part in the challenge, but you might also have other visitors looking for information to use.

So remember:  First name only

Do not include: birthdays, addresses, school names,  sports team names, phone numbers,  email addresses

Original image: ‘privacy

privacy

by: Alan Cleaver